By Gillian, Jenny and Katie
When I volunteered to write this piece on my granddad, Peadar Crowley (Snr) I hadn’t realised that I could literally write a novel about the man. Which I actually once did think about doing shortly after he died so that I wouldn’t forget everything – but hopefully between myself and my sisters we can remember most of the things that made our granddad one of the funniest, kindest, loving, hard working( bringing up 5 boys on his own) and bravest men. I’m sure everyone feels that about their grandad but really nothing I write could do him justice and I hope this article gives you all a glimpse of what he was like-from a grandchilds perspective. I’m sure his sons have a million more good memories. Luckily all his grandchildren got to meet him and spend time with him even if just for a few years. I was one of the lucky ones as I got over 20 years with him….and here are some of the memories.
I asked my sisters to come up with a few things that stuck out in their heads about granddad and here is the list we came up with (in no particular order of preference) – some of which I will expand on!!
No shame: Stealing from other people’s gardens – on car journeys if granddad spotted a plant or a flower he liked the look of – he would pull over to the side of the road (and sometimes even into the peoples driveway) and take said plant/flower…………………no shame!
Looneys: this was the local chip shop and on Friday evenings when we would go to Cork (from Tralee) to visit Grandad he would get us chips from Looneys. Looneys also doubled up as a grocery store – so a lot of time was spend here. We also got lucky bags from here on a regular occasion.
Driving: Learning to drive around football matches in the Glen – Grandad wanted us to learn how to drive quite early on! He would put us in the driving seat to practice driving around a football field in The Glen – whether or not anyone was playing!!
Mick McQuaid: Grandad used to smoke a pipe – anytime I picture him its with a pipe in his hand or mouth – and he always smelt of pipe tobacco-and his drug of choice was Mick Mc Quaid – which had a picture of a man who looked quite like himself on it!we used to get the pipe cleaners to make animals out of! Katie was convinced for most of her childhood that the Mick McQuaid man was in fact Granddad, and would not believe anything to the contrary!
Paddy: His second ‘drug’ of choice was Paddy whiskey. Himself and our mom used to stay up to the early hours chatting/reminiscing and putting the worlds to right over a glass of Paddy. He was also a fan of Murphys rather than Guinness – a true corkman!
Teaching: Grandad was a teacher in the school of commerce in cork and if we ever bumped into any of his students they used to have so many nice things to say about him-I never came across a teacher since who has gotten such good reviews!he used to test us on spelling and Gillian remembers how he used to test her on her German homework all the time.Katie remembers how she will never forgot how to spell ACCOMMODATION!
Sundays: Going to mass on Pope’s Quay on Sunday mornings followed by ‘Cork 800’. We always had to go to mass – and Grandad would bring us to Popes Quay Church and afterwards (which may have been the only reason we went) to the sweet shop down the road from the church. At the time there was a new fountain build outside this shop marking Cork’s 800 year existence and it was in the shape of 800. We would pick our sweets (namely for me those edible sweet elastic necklaces/bracelets!) and then walk along the walls of the fountain until it was time to go home for Sunday lunch. This was also where we could buy the “blue boats”, little plastic blue boats full of penny sweets. We used to have a collection of these saved up for playing with in the bath too 🙂
Stories: Every night we stayed over Grandad would put us to bed and tell us a night time story, often from Ireland’s Own. They were great -the one we remember the most was about a ghost -pucai?? If anyone can fill me in on one of these stories it would be much appreciated. Then after he had scared us with these stories he would go out and turn off the lights and a few minutes later sneak in and pinch us!! Resulting in screams!! Not very conducive to calming down before sleep!
Calendar mix ups: This is one of my favourite memories and always makes me laugh when I think of it and I love to tell everyone about it. Grandad always put up a Christmas tree in his front room (which was the room we slept in when we went to visit). The tree always had lots of lights of all colours. However sometimes he never got around to taking it down after Christmas and it would continue to be up even sometimes until Easter. I remember one year our easter eggs were to be found under the Christmas Tree. And for those in the know – correct me if I’m wrong – but most of the time the lights were also turned on during this Christmas to Easter period!
Breakfast: Gillian remembers having apple tart for breakfast on Saturday mornings. I remember variety packs. Only ever had these at grandads! (I remember these too. I always wanted the Riceicles one)
Fire!!!: On a number of occasions he set his jacket on fire with the pipe, and had plenty of burn holes in the seat of the car!!
Car trips: At weekends when we visited he used to pile the three of us and our three cousins Neil, stephen and Clare into his golf and drive to various landmarks in cork (shandon, the loch, the Glen, blarney etc). We would be in all various positions. Two lying across the passenger seat (down) and the other four kneeling in the back waving and distracting other drivers!!the when we came to hills-which there are many in cork, he used to say that the brakes had gone in the car and he had lost control at the top of the hill. He then would let the car fly down the hill with all of us screaming!!conveniently he regained control and the brakes just at the bottom of the hill!! You wouldn’t get away with this behaviour now-car seats, seat belts etc. We were terrified of the “hag” that apparently lived in the shack in the Glen. We heard many stories of how we would be captured, tied up and fed through cages, pretty much Hansel and Gretel style!!
His garden: He loved his garden and I mainly remember his roses. Every colour you could imagine. My mom always left on a Sunday evening with a little bunch of roses from grandad-wrapped in tin foil. We used to love playing and digging in the garden too. Especially on the milk crates!! Hours of fun! Yellow roses were his favourite. We also spent many hours playing in the garden, with Granddad and our uncles, and using the red milk crates and wheelbarrows for various races and podium places.
Like all kids (hopefully) you get to a point when you are nearly a teenager and so worried about what others think and especially boys that you fancy – so some of the things grandad did used to embarrass me-like beeping the car horn in a tune outside the school gates!!I Just hope he knew that it was just a teenager thing! Katie was lucky she never got to this point and was always young enough to see the fun side!
So there you go. I could go on and on but I’m sure there needs to be a limit. I was aiming to get this article out earlier but in fact it’s more appropriate to do it this week as it’s his anniversary. Rest in peace. We all miss you! The best childhood friend any kid could have wished for X
Jenny, Gillian and Katie